January Is the Best Month to Hire a Doctor

January is the best month to hire a doctor

Finding and hiring doctors today is a challenging task. Talent is in short supply: Over the next decade, researchers project a shortage of up to 94,000 US physicians. Holding onto doctors once they’re hired is imperative, but in the first three years of physician employment, the aggregate turnover rate is a steep 25%. And employers working to fill open positions often face a lengthy process. One report found the average time to fill for primary care doctors in 2015 was 204 days – more than six months.

But the importance of having healthcare institutions reliably staffed with physicians can’t be overstated. We all rely on access to skilled physicians to stay healthy, happy and productive. So what can healthcare recruiters do to improve hiring processes for doctors? Let’s take a closer look at how the timing of job posts come into play, along with other challenges physician recruiters are up against today, and explore tips for optimizing recruitment processes.

Could bad timing be causing you to miss out on a wealth of physician talent?

Indeed’s data suggests there’s a timing mismatch between employers and candidates for physician positions. Our job posting data from 2015 and 2016 shows that employers post the most physician jobs on Indeed in October, but job seeker searches for these positions peak in January. This month is consistently the best time for employers to find a doctor looking for work.

January is a combination of more people are looking and less people are hiring. You could reach a greater number of physician candidates by shifting more recruiting and hiring efforts to January, when job seeker interest spikes.

Location, intensive vetting and shifting candidate priorities

When it comes to hiring physicians, location is a critical factor. According to the NIH, roughly 20% of the US population lives in rural areas, but only 9% of the nation’s physicians practice in rural communities, and the South is expected to see the greatest physician shortfall through 2025. Most medical schools are in urban centers and many doctors choose to practice near the area where they trained. Even medical students who hail from rural areas often choose to remain in cities after graduation – attracted by things like cultural activities and dining options – rather than returning to their rural hometowns. Our data shows searches for doctors in smaller urban areas are well-below the national average in 2016.

Searches for Doctor Jobs are Down in Southern Metro Areas

Metro Area% Change From Average
Lake Charles, LA-93%
Ocala, FL-93%
Savannah, GA-87%
Shreveport-Bossier City, LA-87%
Based on Jul 1 - Dec 14, 2016 data

The vetting and hiring process for doctors also tends to be more intensive than for other healthcare roles. When investing in highly skilled physicians, hospitals want to ensure a strong match so they can retain valuable talent amid fierce competition. The renowned Mayo Clinic, for instance, keeps physicians on for three years before deciding whether to commit to making them full consultants. Also, many organizations are now looking for doctors with strong business acumen, and as a result are screening for qualities like learning agility and leadership skills in addition to medical expertise to find the best talent out there.

And as older doctors retire and younger talent enters to take their places, recruiters need to address a new set of Millennial concerns. For instance, research has shown younger doctors are more concerned with work-life balance than previous generations, and Millennials care more about transparency, authenticity and ownership opportunities at work.

3 tips to optimize your physician hiring efforts

  • Target physician candidates at the times when they’re searching. To the extent that your budgeting cycle allows, consider ramping up physician hiring in January to get your positions in front of more qualified and interested candidates.

  • Revamp your job descriptions to attract younger doctors. When you post a job, make sure your job description speaks to the key concerns of Millennials and other young doctors – namely a healthy work-life balance, a transparent workplace culture and any ownership opportunities you can offer.

  • Factor in your location when creating recruitment content. If you’re hiring for a healthcare facility located outside of a major urban center, you might need to use your job descriptions to promote additional incentives that will attract talented physicians to your area. If you’re recruiting for an urban position for which you can expect a large number of applicants, you might have the luxury of being more choosy. Incorporate basic information about your vetting and hiring process and typical timeline into your career site so applicants know what to expect and can gauge whether it aligns with their needs.

We know hiring for healthcare roles are difficult. That’s why Indeed offers a full suite of products to help you find the best healthcare talent anywhere. Visit indeed.com/hire to get started today.

Use Indeed to find your next hire.